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STEPHEN HAWKING: Computer Generated Imagery

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Part 1:

The International Year of Astronomy was a year-long celebration of that field of science. It took place in 2009 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo and the publication in of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia Nova in the 17th century. By 2009 I had been collecting resources for the study of astronomy for four years. I had only come to any degree of what you might call a serious and systematic study of astronomy after my retirement in the years 1999 to 2005 from a working life of FT, PT and casual-volunteer work: 1955 to 2005.

So it was that yesterday evening that I gobbled-up Stephen Hawkings Into the Universe, which premiered in the UK and the USA just over a year ago, and now on SBSONE TV. It was a cold night and I was keeping warm in my lounge-room here in Tasmania. Id had had a long day; I had not had my daily sleep and after half an hour of this one hour program I was fast asleep. But I read about it the next day and here I am writing about it and about Stephen Hawking.-Ron Price with thanks to SBSONE TV, 24 and 31 May and 7 and 14 June, 8:30-9:30 p.m., Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking.

Part 2:

Now in the evening of my life

& on my sleep-inducing meds

I dropped-off to my heart's ease

as Chaucer once wrote, so soft to

my eyes and the murmurer of low

and tender lullabies, as Keats once

wrote, that program not half over.

But, still, Stephen, I was able to

google the subject and this often

makes up for the loss of a visual

stimulation/I missed the computer

generated imagery of the universe

& the symphonic orchestral music.

Youve been going strong since 1962,

Stephen, the year you got your B.A.

and the year I started my travelling &

pioneering for the Canadian Bahai

community in that town of Dundas

Ontario in that Golden Horseshoe!!

I?ve got to hand it to you, Stephen,

with your motor neuron disease-&

how you keep going especially since

those books you wrote beginning with

A Brief History of Time in 1988 when(1)

the Arc Project was just getting started

in the port city of Haifa Israel.......You(2)

have not been able to even feed yourself

since I began my career in 1974 in a post

secondary education sector Downunder

in Australia, & you could not talk since

I moved to Western Australia in remote

Pilbara in 1985......How do you do it....

Stephen?......Really, how do you do it?

1 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Dell Pub. Co, 1988. It has sold 10 million copies.

2 In the letter of 30 April 1987 from the Universal House of Justice, while Hawking was writing his book on the subject of time, it was announced to the international Bahai community that the way was now open for the Bahai world to erect the remaining buildings of its Administrative Centre at this climacteric of human history.

Ron Price

8 June 2011

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Since there have been no responses to my post above in the last 3 years, I'll add some of my thoughts on Stephen Hawking and, in the process, keep this thread alive and well.-Ron Price, Australia


Stephen Hawking hosted an epic new kind of cosmology series. Its title was Planet Earth. It took the world's most famous scientific mind and set it free, powered by the limitless possibilities of computer animation. Hawking gave us the ultimate guide to the universe, a ripping yarn based on real science, spanning the whole of space and time. He took us through an examination of the nature of the universe itself, to the chances of alien life, and the real possibility of time travel.

ALIENS: Premiered April 25 2011 in Australia

Hawking joined science and the imagination to explore one of the most important mysteries facing humankind ? the possibility of alien, intelligent life and the likelihood of future "contact." Hawking took viewers, traveling from the moons of Jupiter to a galaxy maybe not so far, far away, as he introduced us to possible alien life forms. Stunning computer generated imagery was used. The alien forms of life, in all likelihood, face the same universal trials of adaptation and survival as the residents of this Earth.

The promise of time travel has long been one of the world's favorite scientific "what-ifs?" Hawking explored all the possibilities, warping the very fabric of time and space as he went. From killing your grandfather to riding a black hole, we learned the pitfalls and the prospects for such a technology.

THE STORY OF EVERYTHING: Premiered May 2 2011 in Australia

In two mind-blowing hours, Hawking revealed the wonders of the cosmos to a new generation. TV watchers could delve into the mind of the world's most famous living scientist and reveal the splendor and majesty of the universe as never seen before. We were able to see how the universe began, how it created stars, black holes and life ? and how everything might/will end.

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Part 1:

In the southern hemisphere's summer of 2014-2015, the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way has been getting ready to feast. I was enjoying the first of the summers which I would have in my life during my 70s. I had taken an early retirement some 15 years before and I was also enjoying the intellectual feast that was prepared for me on the world-wide-web. My three children had all left the family nest, and grand-children occupied space out on the periphery of my universe. I served as the secretary and publicity-officer of the local Baha'i group, went for a walk everyday, and socialized in the main with my wife of 40 years.

A gas cloud three times the size of our planet was straying this summer within the gravitational reach of this our nearest super-massive black hole, and was about to be eaten-alive. Across the globe, telescopes were being trained on the heart of our Milky Way galaxy, some 27,000 light years from Earth. Astronomers were living in the expectation of observing this unique spectacle in the cosmos. For cosmic detectives across the Earth, it was a unique opportunity. For the first time in the history of science, they hoped to observe in action the awesome spectacle of a feeding super-massive black hole.

Part 1.1:

I had just finished my dinner which was about as far from an awesome spectacle as one could get in the evening of my life. I watched a program on SBS TV on 9/2/'15 at 7:30 p.m. entitled: Swallowed By A Black Hole. It helped to have some knowledge of both quasars and black holes to really appreciate this program. It also helped to know something about astronomy and physics, astrophysics and mathematics.

Part 2:


Quasars, or quasi-stellar radio sources, are the most energetic & distant members of a class of objects called active galactic nuclei (AGN). Quasars are extremely luminous and were first identified as being high red-shift sources of electromagnetic energy, including radio waves and visible light, that appeared to be similar to stars, rather than extended sources similar to galaxies. Their luminosity can be 100 times greater than that of the Milky Way. A quasar is a compact region in the center of a massive galaxy surrounding a central super-massive black hole. Its size is 10?10,000 times what is called the Schwarzschild radius of the black hole. The energy emitted by a quasar derives from mass falling onto the accretion disc around the black hole. I leave it to readers with the interest to search-out the meaning of terms here which, in all likelihood, they do not understand.

Part 2.1:

It can be shown that quasars are between 600 million, and 29 billion light-years away. Because of the great distances to the farthest quasars and the finite velocity of light, we see them and their surrounding space as they existed in the very early universe. For more on quasars and AGN, as well as explanations of the many complex terms, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasar

Part 3:


The idea of a body so massive that even light could not escape was first mentioned by John Michell in a letter written to Henry Cavendish in 1783 of the Royal Society. Black holes are mathematically defined regions of space-time exhibiting such a strong gravitational pull that no particle or electromagnetic radiation can escape from it. Black holes, defined and described as regions of space from which nothing can escape, was first published by David Finkelstein in 1958, and black holes became mainstream subjects of research.

Part 3.1:

After a black hole has formed, it can continue to grow by absorbing mass from its surroundings. By absorbing other stars and merging with other black holes, super-massive black holes of millions of solar masses may form. There is general consensus that super-massive black holes exist in the centers of most galaxies. The core of the Milky Way contains a super-massive black hole of about 4.3 million solar masses.

The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform space-time to form a black hole. For more on black holes go to:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole This subject really requires some knowledge of physics, astrophysics, astronomy and mathematics. The layman and amateur like myself can only grasp the content to a limited extent.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs, 11/2/'15.

Part 4:

These are subjects which

the average person can't

get their head around; the

numbers are just too big

and the concepts behind

the numbers require the

study of astronomy and

physics, astrophysics, &

mathematics. The average

punter, occupied as he or

she is with the mundane

and the quotidian, with a

job and family life, with

an interest in gardening

and sport, perhaps, bush-

walking and swimming,

is just not on the money

for the complex, distant,

scientific phenomena at

the centre of our Milky

Way galaxy at a 27,000

light-year outpost, in a

state of utter remoteness.

Ron Price


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It has been several months since I was last on this thread and so I might just add a little something 'astronomical. To read my post readers will have to highlight the space below.-Ron Price, Australia


Part 1:

I have posted several times at this site, but I can't find a record of this particular post, but this may be, in part, an old post. I'm not sure. This post is a personal reflection, a personal account, of my experience of astronomy and its study as well as the influences that made for my present interest in this field at the age of 71 in these middle years(65-75) of late adulthood as some human development psychologists call the years from 60 to 80 in the lifespan. I write this partly for myself, since I am a writer and, partly, for the possible interest of others. I don't get to this site as often as I'd like because I post at literally 100s of internet sites and serendipitously select a few sites each day to write on and interact, if timely, with others.

The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) was a year-long celebration of astronomy that took place in 2009 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo and the publication of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia nova in the 17th century. By 2009 I had been collecting astronomy resources in a file for only four years. I had only come to any degree of systematic study of astronomy in the years after my retirement from FT, PT and casual-volunteer work at several stages in the years 1999 to 2005.

Part 2:

Astronomy has never been part of the formal curriculum at any level of my educational experience. I have known several people personally with an interest in astronomy. My mother?s brother, Harold Cornfield and my maternal grandfather, Alfred Cornfield, had more than a little interest in the subject, an interest I remember them having as far back as the 1950s when I was in primary school and visited by uncle in his large home, and my grandfather in the small room where he lived with his eldest daughter Florence, my mother?s sister. I was exposed to the personality of my grandfather in the years 1944 to 1958 and to 1964 in the case of my uncle. I had contact with my mother?s brother until the age of 23 with only a rare letter after that when I had moved in Australia. He studied astronomy?although I don?t remember ever talking to him about his interests.

I have had a fascination with the subject since the start of the space age in the late 1950s and early 1960s and my becoming affiliated with the Bah?'? Faith back in the 1950s during my adolescence. It is difficult not to be interested in the subject being in the first generation to see the movement of man into space in the last five decades. But I have never followed-up that interest in any serious way other than: (a) to attend two or three of those planetariums that dot the landscape of the cities of the world, (B) to browse through a few books and © to listen and watch the occasional special on astronomy in the electronic media.

Part 3:

This file in my study now 10 years in the making marks a beginning point to my own formal study, but it is a study that is largely episodic rather than systematic due to my always wide academic interests. Time will tell how serious this episodic study will become given the variety of my other academic interests. In the first ten years that this file has been in existence, March 2005 to July 2015, I collected more than 30 articles and two lists of journals. A start had been made.

In 2009 astronomy was celebrating four centuries of its modern existence, beginning with Galileo in 1609. In December 2010 a National Geographic video-documentary was televised. It was entitled: Journey to the Edge of the Universe. In this first decade of my retirement, 2006 to 2015, there has been an increasing range of stimuli that have turned me toward astronomy. It will be interesting to see the development of this interest in these years of my late adulthood.

Ron Price

1/1/'11 to 21/7/'15.

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